En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Strange growth on oak tree

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Grafton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Strange growth on oak tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

i have a very strange round segmented growth on a tree in my yard. i think the tree is a chinkapin oak and the growth is a reddish color. it looks like a ball with suction cups on it. it is very strange looking thing and I have not been able to id it anywhere!

ANSWER:

It sounds as if your tree has a gall.  This is a growth that the tree makes in response to an insect or another organism such as a mite or a fungus.  Many galls are caused by an insect laying its eggs in the tree.  The insect hatches inside the gall growth, feeds on the growth and then emerges from the gall to continue its life cycle.  Here is more information about oak galls from the University of Kentucky and here is a Gallery of Common Galls from North Carolina State University.  Your growth sounds a bit like a horned oak gall.  If you don't find your growth in one of these links, please send us a photo and we will do our best to identify it.  Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Note from Mr. SP:  After this answer was posted, someone else sent us a photograph that sounds very much like the gall described above.  We submitted the photo to BugGuide.net and asked if anyone could identify it.  Someone did identify it as being made by a gall wasp, Adleria quercusstrobilana, in the (Family Cynipidae), laying its eggs in the stem of the tree.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Leaves turning brown in Fredonia KS
June 16, 2009 - Leaves turning brown.
view the full question and answer

Pest on leaves of native Texas persimmon in Laredo, TX
February 20, 2009 - I have a transplanted a Texas persimmon tree from the wild. It has some globes in the leaves. It seems like some pest injected something from underside of leaves. Any suggestion? What is happening t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with dogwood tree in Jacksonville FL
February 28, 2010 - Sir, I believe I have a Cornus drummondii, a stiff dogwood tree on my lawn which a few years ago was big, lush and full of branches and leaves. In the last 2 years I have noticed about 80% of it drop...
view the full question and answer

Rust-colored spots on Lantana?
June 05, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Cibolo TX and my lantana plants are about 3 years old. They have done exceedingly well until this spring. The leaves have developed brown, rust colored spots and the le...
view the full question and answer

Treatment of mealy bugs on house plants
April 19, 2005 - I have some house plants that have a "fungi" that has appeared and spread from one to the others. I believe it is killing the plants. It is a white fuzz the is sticky to the touch. when i whip it...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center